Math, art collaboration becomes a chip off the old ‘block’

Sam Houston State University math professor Scott Chapman’s work is about breaking things down; for years, he has solved math problems by breaking large problem into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Conversely, as an artist, Gaylon Rex Greger’s work is about building things out of nothing; working primarily in sculpture and abstract expressionism, he makes visual and creative statements that reflect overarching ideas.

 So it was quite the combination when, as former colleagues at Trinity University in San Antonio, Chapman’s and Greger’s work collided. The result was a piece of art that represents both of their worlds.

 Greger,taking inspiration from a theoretical paper Chapman had written, created a sculpture “characterizing” the concept of block monoids.

A block monoid is an algebraic structure that was created to help understand certain numbers that do not follow the usual pattern of unique factorization.

Chapman explained that in general, most numbers factor uniquely. Prime numbers are known as

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